Airports are a funny place. For someone who doesn't like flying that much there is something about the buzz and excitement at the airport that has always appealed to me. Families with eager and excited children rolling their little trunkies around across the polished airport floors. Their faces beaming with thoughts of the holiday that awaits them. People flying to meet their loved ones or families in far, far lands. Or people just eager to get back home after their long and hectic work trip. With images like these running through my head I have been thinking about those who were present at the airport in Brussels this morning. They must have fallen into those categories too like any other airport. Similarly those packed in the Brussels metro, commuting to work, I can only compare to the London Underground and how busy it is at that time. Ordinary people going about their lives.
As the death toll rises and my heart sinks further I am dreading the moment when the details of those killed in this heinous, heinous crime will emerge. When we will have faces to replace those numbers. No please, I don't want to know as this will only be more agonising. As a mother, my first instinct is let there be no children, but then I think let there be no husbands or mothers or fathers or daughters or sons. Why? I ask, and then my grief turns into anger. A few years ago when an atrocity like this happened the first thought that came to my head was please let this not be in the name of Islam or perpetrated by Muslims but unfortunately this thought does not come to me anymore. Regrettably this fact is substantiated only in a matter of time.
Grief and anger are the two emotions sensible and caring people all across the planet will feel today but whether you believe me or not, as a Muslim my anger and grief is twice as much as others. Because these acts are carried out in the name of my religion and my faith. The same faith that has instilled in me so much compassion for humanity leads my grief for the loss of innocent lives to be more immense. Allah says that shedding the blood of one innocent person is like shedding the blood of humanity.
Why do they do it in the name of Islam? I do not have the answer to this question, indeed, Islam does not have the answer to this question either.
My Allah is the Lord of all the worlds, He is not just the Lord of Muslims. My Allah is Gracious and Merciful and Benevolent. His grace and mercy and benevolence are for the whole of humanity and all creation not just for Muslims. Muslims who think otherwise are utterly misguided. My Prophet (peace be upon him) teaches me to pick thorns or obstructions from pathways and walkways so they do not cause injury or harm to travellers, how can followers of that Prophet cause carnage and bloodshed to innocent travellers going about their way? The Prophet (peace be upon him) was given the name Mercy for Mankind and if you study his actions, his words and his life you can see it for yourself.
No amount of injustice, cruelty or discrimination carried out against Muslims anywhere in the world justifies these acts of terror. Bloodshed does not justify more bloodshed. Religious clerics all over the world should take responsibility and stop misguiding people in the name of Islam. The true teachings of every religion promote peace. It's our responsibility as the followers of a religion to practice those teachings. Similarly it is the responsibilities of the governments around the world to uphold the highest standards of justice not just within their own countries but also in relation to the other countries. That is the only way we can establish peace in the world.
Only this past weekend, the worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad gave a historic keynote address at the annual peace symposium held by the Ahmadiyya Muslim community UK. This event was held at Baitul Futuh mosque in Morden south London and was attended by many non-Muslims including members of Parliament and other dignitaries.
Speaking on the subject of extremism and terrorism Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
In the very first chapter of the Holy Quran, it is stated that Allah the Almighty is the 'Provider and Sustainer of all the worlds'. He is the Gracious and Ever Merciful. Thus, when Allah the Almighty is the Provider and Sustainer of all people and the Gracious and Merciful - how could it be that He desired for those who believed in Him to mercilessly murder, violently oppose or harm His Creation in any way? Of course the answer is that it is not possible.
He further said:
At a time of worldwide conflict, we should remember the basic principle that it is better for all forms of evil and cruelty to be suppressed and for all forms of goodness and humanity to be endorsed. In this way, evil will not spread far, whilst virtue and peace will spread far and wide and adorn our society.
As the events of this shocking morning in Brussels unfold, our thoughts and prayers are with those who lost their lives in these barbaric acts and their loved ones left behind. I can't imagine what must be going through their minds. I also hope and pray that humanity stands together to fight the evil of terrorism and this does not cause division in society.